We mentioned last time that the Groups Calendar was available already on the dogfood server, but you couldn’t really do anything to it as all you get is an error message and nothing is being loaded into the Calendar. Windows Live Calendar was officially updated today (on the public server) and with it comes support for Groups Calendar feature. If you’ve created any Groups in Messenger, you’ll notice when you login to your calendar today that you might have a few extra calendars on your list – they’d correspond to each of the Groups you are part of. Events you add to the Group Calendar will show up on all other members of the Group.
You can also access the new Group Calendar from within Messenger. When you do, you’ll be taken not to your own personal Calendar site, but the actual Group’s Calendar. But don’t worry, Windows Live Calendar conveniently loads all your personal calendars into the page too, so you can actually see if there’s any conflicts between your Group’s and your own schedules. Very neat feature!
You’ll notice that there’s a few difference here. First of all, there’s no option to “Share” the Group Calendar – it’s automatically shared with the rest of your Group already – but it also means you can’t share the Group Calendar with the public or any other persons not in the Group (unless you add them into your Group). There is also a limitation of only one calendar per Group, so you cannot create multiple calendars for the same Group. Also notice that you cannot directly create “social events” (ie. Windows Live Events) from here, it is most likely because for every Event there’s a Group associated with it – so essentially there’s a separate Group Calendar for that. Confusing huh?
Nevertheless this is a very neat update and gives us a peek into the power of Windows Live Groups. Expect more coming real soon!
P.S. With this update there’s also four new themes – Carbon, Graffiti, Wildflowers, and Moonlight. If you were using one of the original themes previously, and accidently changed your theme here, there’s currently no option to change it back (as the “More themes” link currently doesn’t work yet). But don’t worry, these themes are still available once the new Windows Live Home gets rolled out.